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The National Archives: An Interview with John Sheridan, Digital Director

David Clee

The National Archives (TNA) is the archive of the UK Government. It is also the sector lead for archives across the UK and responsible for preserving 1000 years of British history. A big part of this is preserving the digital record of Government today.

The way in which the Government has been using the web has been changing, with the launch of the GOV.UK website and the increasing use by Government of platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

TNA wanted to capture as good a record as they could of Government’s use of the whole web - this led them to award their web archiving contract to MirrorWeb. MirrorWeb have brought some unique new technical capabilities to the archive, in particular:

  • Data migration
  • Cloud computing
  • Search
  • New ways to harvest and crawl content
  • New ways of making content available online

John Sheridan states: "MirrorWeb have provided us with outstanding value for money, so we’ve been very pleased with the work that they’ve been able to do for us."

Find out more about website archiving from MirrorWeb in our free eBook.


One of the biggest differences MirrorWeb have made for TNA is their ability to be able to provide really effective search across the whole of the web archive. For the first time, a whole raft of content has been indexed by the search facility - offering users the ability to narrow their search to a particular archived site.

"One of things that I’ve been most impressed by is MirrorWeb’s use of cloud computing technologies.

"For example, to index the entirety of our 120TB collection, they were able to spin up a 1000 node plus cluster of computers to process the entirety of that collection - really in just a couple of days. To see that kind of effective use of cloud computing has been hugely impressive," says Sheridan.

Sheridan mentions that they are really excited about how MirrorWeb can keep on innovating and how they looking at new ways of harvesting content as well as to improve the web archive service to end users by improving search and user navigation.

About MirrorWeb Web and Social Media Archiving

MirrorWeb delivers cloud-based archiving and monitoring solutions for the information-driven enterprise. Trusted by the UK government, our website and social media archiving platform allows organisations to create permanent, unalterable records of all online communications, meeting compliance obligations and ensuring information of commercial, cultural or historical value is never lost. Our robust web content monitoring tools also allow organisations to ensure content created by their representatives and partners remains compliant at all times.

The MirrorWeb platform is:

  • State-of-the-art - offering support for web and social media data at large scale, as well as indexing for search and big data initiatives.
  • Cloud-native - as an AWS partner, we offer near-unlimited capacity and scalability with complete control over data storage.
  • ISO-compliant - we are ISO9001 and ISO27001-certified and archive our data in the secure, date and time-stamped ISO28500 standard WARC file (WORM) format.
  • UK-based - we offer UK-based support 24/7/365. All archives are stored in local territories to meet data protection and compliance requirements.
  • User-friendly - our best-in-class client portal puts you in control of your archives, allowing you to control archiving frequency, search and replay content, and view reports and notifications.
  • Cost-competitive - we give you and your team full access to the MirrorWeb portal at all times, with no seat fee and no setup and maintenance fees.

If you would like to see how state-of-the-art cloud-based archiving can benefit your organisation, download our free eBook 'A Guide to Website Archiving' today.


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